Nile Dennis-Stephens

Finance and Investment – BSc (Hons)

Nile is the definition of determination. With his eyes set on a first class degree and a career in private equity, Nile is doing all he can to achieve his goals and inspire other Black Asian and minority ethnic students along the way.

“Going to university had always been my plan, both my love of learning and the good experiences of my family played a large part in this. I didn't always plan to study finance though - from a young age I'd always planned to become a pilot and considered studying an engineering course. However, at 14 I began playing ‘Ultimate Team’ on my favourite football game ‘FIFA’. This is a game mode where you earn money and use it to invest in players on the in-game stock market. This was an entirely new concept to me, seeing how the strong performance of footballers in the real world could cause their value to increase substantially really intrigued me. So, my love for finance and economics was born! I haven’t given up my interest in aviation though, I do plan to get a pilots’ license in the future!

I’m determined to make myself more than just a standard graduate. I feel very passionate about addressing the underrepresentation of B.A.M.E. groups in the finance sector, and have been supporting students by mentoring and sharing advice on how to get jobs. When you look at the boards of top companies, you don't really see many minorities. It inspired me to learn more about that and think about what I can do to address it.

BCU has been the perfect venue for me to flourish and I’ve put myself forward for a whole range of opportunities. I’ve been learning Mandarin Chinese as well as serving as a Campus Ambassador for global accounting firm Deloitte. BCU are a very giving university, there’s always an event going on where excellent resources are on offer- at no cost other than your time. Through these resources, I have found many opportunities to further develop my skills and become a well-rounded student. There are also regular job postings straight into my inbox, offering chances both on and off campus to get that all important experience employers ask for.

I’ve always been a perfectionist. Before I began university, I told myself that I’d try and get 100% in every module - quite an unrealistic target looking back. I’ve overcome this by realising that exams test our understanding, as long as you have a good grasp on the concepts you have done well. Now I set myself an ideal grade and then also a more realistic grade. I strive for the higher grade and then I'm more likely to do better. I like to think whatever I put in is what will get out so if I work hard, I will get a good outcome and the one I deserve.

I’m most proud of earning an award from my Faculty Dean – this was the pinnacle of extracurricular achievement in my eyes. As well as looking great on graduate job applications, it shows me that my hard work is being recognised and commended by those in the higher ranks - excellent motivation for me to continue working this hard.

Joining the finance and investment society was a way to meet other like-minded students. In the second year of my degree, I served as president of the society too which was an excellent way for me to network. I have also gone on nights out with the friends I’ve made - it’s not all work and no play!

My ultimate aim is to earn a first-class degree to make myself more competitive to employers. I’m fairly close to doing this as I have worked hard so far; BCU has helped me do this through the dedication and hard work of my lecturers who are always more than willing to explain ideas in greater detail.

I’ve secured an internship over the Summer with a private equity firm – I’ll be moving around the UK to all sorts of areas like Manchester and London. I feel really lucky to have secured an internship in this area as I’d love to do a Master’s in this really rewarding field after I’ve finished by degree. I want to do this as it is not normally something you do straight from undergrad. My long-term plan is to hopefully get a role in private equity or investment banking.

‘I AM BCU’ means a lot to me. BCU has a strong heritage and ethos of valuing the creative qualities that students bring to the table. In this sense I feel I am more than an academic, I’m always encouraged to approach problems from alternate and unique angles and offer my opinions. I am valued, I am creative, I am BCU!”

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